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Self-Service Checkouts



Role: Lead Product Designer. Platforms: Till Interface.

Our in-store self-service checkouts are one of our most used digital touchpoints, seeing millions of transactions every single week. Everyone who walks through our front door needs to be able to use them with ease, and while we know that they can be frustrating to use, it was our task to find out what could be improved and to do so as quickly as possible, with limited time and budget. No pressure then!

Our redesigned interface enabled a 10% increase in throughput and a 10% increase in CSAT.

Group 8 (1)Group 8 (1)

The first thing we did was map out the existing journey. We photographed every single screen, printed them out, and stuck them up on the wall. This became a focus point for the team, giving us a better understanding of the end to end flow, and helped us identify inconsistencies across the experience.


The next step was to begin our research and data gathering exercise to help us uncover any sticking points throughout the journey, for both customers and colleagues. We went into store and spoke to checkout colleagues, who helped us understand which parts of the journey could be quicker and smoother. We also spoke with customers to understand how they felt about self-service checkouts, including what they thought about the language used, accessibility and optional printed receipts.

IMG_2495 (1)IMG_2495 (1)

We consolidated all of this insight and started to look for themes. We then layered our findings on top of the journey we’d stuck on the wall which allowed us to see areas that could be improved for both customers and colleagues. We worked with the cross-functional team to make sure we had an accurate prioritisation of issues, using different colors to indicate the scale of each one.

With this overview of the customer journey and the relative areas for improvement, we worked with developers and internal stakeholders to understand the effort required to fix each of the issues. We mapped these onto a value vs effort 2x2 matrix to give us our prioritized backlog of improvements to make.


From this, we started mocking up several concepts to put in front of customers. We started with pen and paper, sketching out different possible layouts and flows that solved many of the issues that our earlier research highlighted. We narrowed these ideas down to a couple of options, and then moved onto clickable prototypes that simulated a checkout journey. We’d test these by asking customers to scan items through our till concept in a fake store environment to see how our designs compared to what’s currently live, allowing us to iterate quickly and fix any issues there and then.

Desktop HD Copy 125Desktop HD Copy 125

 We took our learnings, and iterated our design to produce our final version ready to go into development. It was really important that the visuals we produced were usable and accessible to a high standard. This ranged from making sure button sizes were big enough so they’re easy to hit; colour contrasts are strong so those with poor sight can navigate easily; type sizes are large enough; visual clutter is reduced and that copy is accurate concise and makes sense to customers.

We worked closely with the development team throughout the build process, iterating and fixing issues as we progressed closer to the finished solution. The updated self-service checkout UX and UI has gone live in a number of our stores, and we’re hearing some great feedback from customers and colleagues alike, including that the interface screens are simpler for customers to look up items and navigate, that the approval process is easier and the speed of the service is improved.

Keep your eyes peeled for the new checkout interface in your Sainsbury’s store! As of April 2018, over 1000 stores have gone live!